Homes flattened, thousands in evacuation centers as powerful Tropical Cyclone Yasa strikes Fiji

By Oxfam

Cyclone Yasa made landfall in Fiji yesterday, carrying destructive winds of up to 214 mph, heavy rain, and storm swells, and has flattened homes and left major devastation to roads, and vegetation.

More than 600,000 people in the South Pacific island nation are now affected, thousands of which are already in evacuation centers as the tropical storm disrupted access to essential utilities including water supply and sanitation facilities, as well as food.

Oxfam is on the ground, working closely with local partners and the Fijian government to assess the damage and needs of affected communities.

“The cyclone is still moving across Fiji and therefore determining the true impact of the damage will take some time. However, Oxfam has contingency stock already in place including hygiene kits with essential items like soap and water purification tablets ready for our local partners to distribute to communities in need," said Oxfam' Regional Director in the Pacific Raijeli Nicole.

Tropical cyclone Yasa is moving faster than expected, leaving less time to cause as much damage as was feared, but it still has the potential to be devastating for the hundreds of thousands of people in its path. Coastal communities are particularly prone to flooding and coastal inundation is expected in low-lying areas, along with strong winds and heavy rain.

“With hampered access, we are extremely concerned about the potential for a second disaster within a disaster - without assistance, people will be at risk of waterborne infections."

“This is the second Category 5 tropical cyclone to hit Fiji’s main population centers in 2020 after Harold in April, and one of a dozen major storms in the last eight years. Through intensifying cyclones like Yasa, our islands are experiencing the harsh consequences of inaction on climate change right now. It’s past time for world leaders to step up their commitments in this climate emergency,” she added.

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